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Air Abrasion

There are recent improvements in dental procedures which in the past would only be something one could dream of. Some of these improvements are early detection and filling of small cavities without anesthesia, substitutes for the whining noise making and vibrating dental drills used during some procedures. All these are possible because of the emergence of Air Abrasion Technology.

Dentists use this hand-held air abrasion instrument, and they serve several purposes. This tool operates similarly as a sandblaster, by using compressed air to precisely shoot abrasive particles (often silicon or aluminum oxide) at the decayed portion of the tooth.

The decayed materials on the tooth are knocked off by the abrasive particles, and the debris is suctioned away through a tube.

Air abrasion instruments are not entirely new as they were first invented in the 1940s. But with the advancement of technology, the device has gone through improvements and has become better and more efficient. An air abrasion instrument is useful for the following:

  • Removal and filling of dental cavities
  • Getting teeth ready for bonding
  • Veneering
  • Teeth stain removal
  • Small teeth defect repair
How It Works

Abrasive particles are tiny, about 0.002” in diameter and only removes a minimal amount of tooth structure. This property makes them more appropriate than making a drill. The settings on the instruments such as flow rate, nozzle diameter, air pressure can be controlled to get the precise abrasion. Air abrasion provides a minimally invasive approach for getting rid of decayed or unwanted tooth material.

Suction tubes are used in removing debris during the procedure, though it’s advised for everyone to wear protective eyewear. The other teeth are protected from the abrasive particles using a rubber dam, which also prevents the particles from entering where they should not.

Advantages of Air Abrasion

Unlike a traditional dental drill, air abrasion does not generate vibrations or pressure during use and are almost noiseless. For cavities that are not deep, anesthesia might be unnecessary. Air abrasion is precise in its workings and will, therefore, not damage healthy tooth materials.

They are appropriate for children and people sensitive to dental discomfort. Some cavities are too tiny to be detected by x-rays. Lasers are used in the detection of such tooth holes, and air abrasion is perfect in treating and sealing them up.

Air abrasion is not appropriate in the treatment of deep cavities or the removal of old metal fillings. This technology is used in performing restorative and preventive dental procedures and offers other benefits to both the dentist and the patient.

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